Sojourner Truth, the noted abolitionist and women’s rights activist, died in Battle Creek, Michigan, on November 26, 1883. When she passed away at age eighty-six, her funeral at the Congregational Church was thought the largest ever in that city.
Not content to honor local hero Sojourner Truth at merely life- or even heroic-size, Battle Creek has recreated her as a bronze giant. Had Sojourner really been this big she might’ve had less need to tirelessly campaign for her various worthy causes, from the abolition of slavery to women’s rights. But sometimes a normal-sized woman’s accomplishments merit a big statue.
The sculpture, by artist Tina Allen, was unveiled in 1997, which is the guesstimated bicentennial of Sojourner’s birth. No one knows exactly when that was, but Sojourner spent the last 16 years of her long life in Battle Creek, and she’s buried nearby. (Note: The little boy is just playing around for the photographer and is not attached to the statue.)
Bust of Sojourner Truth in Emancipation Hall, U.S. Capitol. Also review short biography about Sojourner Truth and the Sculptor.
“Michigan Historical Calendar“, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: a life, a symbol, New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.